Tacoma City Council Meeting - July 7, 2015

It turns out that jet lag is not conducive to our writing, but we're mostly recovered, and ready to get back to covering things going on around town... starting, of course, with first things first - City Council coverage.

PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS/PRESENTATIONS/ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mayor Strickland proclaimed July 2015 as LGBTQ Pride Month in the City of Tacoma. This year’s celebration of the contributions of the LGBTQ community in Tacoma will include the raising of the rainbow flag over the Tacoma Municipal Building, the annual Out in the Park celebration, and a number of other celebrations and cultural events around the city. Everyone is invited to join in the celebration, regardless of orientation.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

Although no decision was scheduled to be made this week, aside from the council accepting the recommendations of the Tacoma Minimum Wage Task Force, public comment was entirely focused on the issue of increasing the minimum wage in Tacoma.

After a brief lecture from the Mayor on civility in public comment, and the limits of free speech in this setting, we heard from three dozen commenters, including several task force members. As at past public comment sessions on the topic, the majority of comment came from those supporting a $15 minimum wage in some form. We did, however, also hear from several business owners, sharing their expectations for the impact of the increase on their operations.

The conversation seems at this point to be reduced to the (perhaps oversimplified) debate between $12 or $15 an hour - at least for this comment session, the question no longer seemed to be whether the wage should go up, but by how much. We'll have to wait to see what the council decides, and where the public takes the matter after that.

 

PURCHASE RESOLUTIONS

Resolution No. 39229 A resolution authorizing an increase to the contract with Alpine Commercial Tire & Retreaders, Inc., in the amount of $735,000, plus sales tax, for a cumulative total of $935,000, budgeted from various departmental funds, for the supply of recapped tires, new tires, and tire repair services for the City’s heavy duty trucks and equipment on an as-needed basis

Resolution No. 39230 A resolution authorizing an increase to the contract with Brown and Caldwell, Inc., in an amount not to exceed $123,300, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $1,118,592, budgeted from the Surface Water Fund, for design and engineering services associated with the Cleveland Way Pump Station Improvement.

Both purchase resolutions were adopted without comment.

 

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution No. 39231 A resolution accepting the final report containing the recommendations of the Minimum Wage Task Force.

Although the task force did not come up with one unified proposal, there was agreement among the members that the minimum hourly wage in Tacoma should go up, and that increase should happen incrementally, and be as easy to understand as possible. They also agreed that Tacoma should seek to align with the State when applicable, and that the impacts of any change should be reassessed following implementation.

The task force returned two proposals to the council.

Proposal A (backed by # of the task force) has both large and small businesses getting to $15 in stages:

  • Large businesses (with more than 150 employees) would pay $15 an hour by 2020
  • Small businesses (1 or fewer employees) would pay $15 an hour by 2024

Proposal B (backed by # of the task force) has all businesses moving to $12 an hour in stages.

  • All businesses pay $12 an hour by 2019

Again, there was no formal decision made by the council, other than passing the resolution to accept the recommendations of the task force for further consideration.

 

Resolution No. 39232 A resolution authorizing the execution of a Multi-Family Housing 12-Year Limited Property Tax Exemption Agreement with IRA Funding, LLC, for the development of 17 multi-family market-rate and affordable rental housing units located at 7624 Pacific Avenue in the 72nd and Pacific Mixed-Use Center.

This resolution grants a 12-year property tax exemption to a 17-unit multi-family housing project based on plans to rent at least 20% of the units as affordable housing, according to the Pierce County area median.

The property owner will continue to pay property taxes on the unimproved value of the parcels, and at the end of 12 years, the full value of any new development will go back on the books. The affordable housing requirement is enforced through an annual listing of units rented, with verification of resident income. If the criteria are not met, the developer loses the exemption.

 

Resolution No. 39233 A resolution authorizing the execution of a Multi-Family Housing 12-Year Limited Property Tax Exemption Agreement with Schuur Bros., Inc., for the development of six multi-family market-rate and affordable rental housing units located at 4026 South Pine Street in the Tacoma Mall Mixed-Use Center.

This resolution grants another 12-year property tax exemption to a 6-unit project, under the same conditions described for the previous resolution. Deputy Mayor Boe recused himself from discussing or voting on this item to avoid the potential for an appearance of a conflict of interest.

 

FINAL READING OF ORDINANCES

Ordinance No. 28303 An ordinance amending Chapter 6B.220 of the Municipal Code, relating to For-Hire Regulations, to align vehicle insurance requirements with recently adopted state requirements for transportation network companies, clarify responsibility for submittal of quarterly license fees and trip reports, and add a requirement that for-hire plates be returned to the City when for-hire vehicles have been removed from service.

Ordinance No. 28304 An ordinance authorizing the sale of a Convention Center and Parking Revenue Refunding Bond, Series 2015, in an amount not to exceed $24,000,000, to refund outstanding bonds, fund a debt service reserve, and other related costs, and delegating the authority to approve the final terms of the bond.

Both ordinances were adopted without comment.

 

FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES

Ordinance No. 28305 An ordinance amending Chapter 12.10 of the Municipal Code, relating to Water - Regulations and Rates, to revise rates with RockTenn CP, LLC.

This ordinance would adopt special water rates for 2015-2016 for the RockTenn pulp and paper mill in the Port of Tacoma. RockTenn bought the old Simpson paper mill a couple years ago, and is now in the middle of a merger that will leave the old mill with yet another new name.

The mill uses a lot of water – the most of any current Tacoma Water customer – but improvements in efficiency and water use have also been made in recent years, including the use of two saltwater tanks that allow the company to use water from Commencement Bay, rather than relying on potable Tacoma Water supplies.

 

COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee – Councilmember Woodards reported on recent issues covered by the committee.

  • heard presentations from Tacoma’s new charter schools operators
  • discussed the City’s jail services agreements
  • presentation from the Humane Society on “Community Cats”
  • learned about changes to the Tacoma Municipal Code relating to smoking on transit property
  • heard discussion of changes to the Citizen Review Panel

At its next meeting the committee will discuss the Eastside Community Center, Citizen Review Panel code amendments, Tacoma Police’s burglary reduction initiative and Tacoma Fire’s mid-year review.

Woodards also announced that this Saturday, July 11 is the date for a community cleanup for the South Tacoma Manitou/Arlington neighborhoods.

Councilmember Mello made a few remarks about Pride festivities this week.

  • Friday – the mayor will raise the pride flag over city hall
  • Saturday – an all day street festival on Broadway in front of the Broadway center
  • there will also be films with discussions, faith events, military appreciation, and more.
  • all of community is invited to join, no matter your orientation
  • go to tacomapride.org for more

Councilmember Campbell reminded us that the Eastside Farmers’ Market continues every Wednesday from noon to 3.

Campbell also reported that a fire destroyed the shed and green house for the Roosevelt Elementary community garden. If you’ve got extra gardening equipment lying around, donations can be made through Sustainable Roots or the National Leadership Foundation. Campbell gave a shout out to McClendon’s for their donation of a new shed and starts.

Councilmember Lonergan was absent this week.

ADJOURNMENT

That’s all for this week folks, but we’ll be back in full swing with the usual council coverage next week.


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